Exhibition: Folklore and Fairy Tales

Come and visit our latest exhibition showcasing folklore and fairy tales in the University Library's collections. Once upon a time . . . .

The exhibition runs from until 2 February 2019 in the basement of the David Wilson Library, and may be viewed from Monday to Saturday between 9.30am and 5pm and on Sunday between 12.30pm and 5.30pmon Sunday. Entry to the Library is free but security controlled. Ask for admission to the Special Collections exhibition at reception. See Maps and Directions for further information about how to find us.

The Three Bears (London, [189?]), [SCM 11783]Our current exhibition explores folklore and fairy tales across the centuries, and features translations of stories from around the world. For thousands of years, the art of storytelling has featured prominently in cultural traditions around the world. Forerunners to the ‘fairy tale’ include stories which contained mythical creatures and heroic characters.

Despite their popularity as contenders for ‘bed time reading’, fairy tales have not always been written with children in mind. Often including elements of magic, many of these tales were both gruesome and horrific. Stories were frequently used to convey messages of responsibility, good morals, and transformation of character.

Using volumes from our Archives & Special Collections, the exhibition offers an overview of the origin and development of fairy tales from across the globe. The fairy tale is explored through four themes: ‘The Fairy Tale through Time’, ‘Around the World’, ‘Adaptations’, and ‘Famous Folklorists’.

‘The Fairy Tale through Time’ explores the evolution of fairy tales over the centuries, beginning with Ovid's Metamorphoses and ending with fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen.

‘Around the World’ contains a selection of books from Europe and the Far East along with a story book from India. These works have all been translated into English.

‘Adaptations’ focusses on two popular fairy tales: The Three Bears and Red Riding Hood. Throughout the centuries both stories have undergone many alterations and revisions by various authors.

‘Famous Folklorists’ is dedicated to the authors Han Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Translated into many languages and distributed across the world, their names have become synonymous with the fairy tale genre. Included in this exhibition are translated editions from France and the Czech Republic.

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